Barriers Impact on Primary Care Accessibility for Low Income Families
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Access to health services means "the timely use of personal health services to achieve the best health outcomes.
This gap may partly be due to the fact that research into the social determinants of health has largely been focused on policy-level and public health-based interventions. Very little has been done to directly examine primary health care providers' responsiveness to income as a risk factor for health. Moreover, while family medicine has a strong history of addressing issues once considered social, such as smoking and obesity, income remains largely unaddressed in primary care. As a step towards the development of potential direct interventions by primary care providers, this study examines some of the current barriers to effectively addressing poverty as a risk to health in the province of Ontario, Canada. There is a nuanced literature discussing access to health care for different populations, however access to care for people who live at low income has been less well-explored. Existing evidence points to significant barriers to people living on low income receiving high quality primary care that is responsive to their social circumstances.
Investing in existing safety net providers and programs, offering grants to develop and implement innovative healthcare delivery models, and funding research to study policy implications as they relate to rural healthcare access are all examples of actions foundations can take to support rural healthcare access.
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